- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Provost Ralph Hexter and Richard Engel, executive director of CAAA, presented the award.
Last year Li received the Department of Entomology’s Outstanding Undergraduate Award in Entomology.
Li, who grew up in Monterey Park, near east Los Angeles where she learned to love insects, was nominated for the senior award by Professor Sharon Lawler of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. “Ivana Li exemplifies the kind of leader, community organizer and entomology that our department seeks to produce," Lawler wrote. "She has especially excelled in her entomology courses and in leadership. Ivana Li is a true entomology and UC Davis success story.”
“Although initially shy, Ivana took advantage of the welcoming atmosphere here to not only develop intellectually, but to flower as a focal personality in the community of entomology students and faculty. She is a key player in virtually all of the outreach our department offers, from leading the Bohart Museum of Entomology tours for schoolchildren and assisting at open houses to developing and hosting UC Davis Picnic Day displays.”
Lawler also praised Li for installing the “major, eye-catching interpretive display of insects that lines a corridor in our department. It is informative, engaging and of a quality that rivals any professional museum.”
Active in the UC Davis Entomology Club, Li has held most of the offices, including president, and her “efforts have been key in making the club thrive,” Lawler said. The club is a valuable forum for outreach, peer mentoring and marketing, according to club advisor Robert Kimsey, forensic entomologist.
Li helped create an important Entomology Club contract with National Park Survey (NPS) to survey Alcatraz Island for wood-boring beetles. Kimsey has done fly research on Alcatraz for several years.
As an artist, Ivana has combined her research with her humorous side via Bohart Museum of Entomology t-shirts and by participating in a landmark paper, “A Phylogeny and Evolutionary History of the Pokémon,” published in the Annals of Improbable Research (AIR) in July 2012. The paper is a humorous take on the evolutionary development and history of the 646 fictional species depicted in the Pokémon media over the last 16 years
Li works at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, home of nearly eight million insects. The entomology display she created for the Briggs third-floor hallway, was funded by a Bohart Museum grant, and completed within a four-week period. Assisting her from the Bohart were Lynn Kimsey, museum director and professor of entomology; senior museum scientist Steve Heydon; and Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. Yang wrote the grant.
Visitors can see everything from dragonflies, butterflies and honey bees to beetles, flies, ants and other insects.
- Order Lepitopdera, butterflies and moths
- Order Coleoptera, beetles
- Order Hemiptera, true bugs
- Order Hymenoptera, bees, ants and wasps
- Order Diptera, flies, mosquitoes, knats and midges
- Orthopteroid orders, including Mantodea (mantids), Phasmatodea (stick insects) and Blattodea (cockroaches)
- Aquatic insects, including Odonata (dragonflies), Ephemeoptera (mayflies), Plecoptera (stoneflies), Neuroptera (lacewings and antlions), and Trichoptera (caddisflies)
- Phylum Arthopodea, the largest animal phylum, which includes insects, spiders and crustaceans.
Her future plans include enrolling in graduate school.
Feb. 13, 2013
If you're not closely related, communication won't be as effective.
Newly published research in today's Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences shows that kin have distinct advantages when it comes to plant communication, just as “the ability of many animals to recognize kin has allowed them to evolve diverse cooperative behaviors,” says lead researcher and ecologist Richard Karban, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
For example, fire ants can recognize kin. “Ants will destroy queens that are not relatives but protect those who are,” Karban said.
That ability is less well studied for plants, until now.
“When sagebrush plants are damaged by their herbivores, they emit volatiles that cause their neighbors to adjust their defenses,” Karban said. “These adjustments reduce rates of damage and increase growth and survival of the neighbors.”
The research, “Kin Recognition Affects Plant Communication and Defense,” is co-authored by two scientists from Japan and two from UC Davis: Kaori Shiojiri of the Hakubi Center for Advanced Research, Kyoto University, and Satomi Ishizaki of the Graduate School of Science and Technology, Niigata University; and William Wetzel of the UC Davis Center for Population Biology, and Richard Evans of the UC Davis Department of Plant Science.
To simulate predator damage, the researchers “wounded” the plants by clipping them and then studied the responses to the volatile cues. They found that the plants that received cues from experimentally clipped close relatives experienced less leaf damage over the growing season that those that received cues from clipped neighbors that were more distantly related.
“More effective defense adds to a growing list of favorable consequences of kin recognition for plants,” they wrote.
The researchers performed their field work on sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) at Taylor Meadow, UC Sagehen Creek Field Station, near Truckee. They conducted four field experiments over three years “that compared the proportion of leaves that were damaged by herbivores over the growing season when plants were provided with volatile cues clipped from a close relative versus cues from a distant relative,” the scientists wrote.
For closely related kin, they snipped stem cuttings (clones), potted them, and then returned the pots to the field. They determined relatedness “by using microsatellites that varied among individual sagebrush clones.”
The result: “Plants responded more effectively to volatile cues from close relatives than from distant relatives in all four experiments and communication reduced levels of leaf damage experienced over the three growing seasons,” they wrote. “This result was unlikely to be caused by volatiles repelling or poisoning insect herbivores.”
Karban, who has studied plant communication among the sagebrush at the site since 1999, likened the plant communication to neighbors “eavesdropping.” They “hear” the volatile cues of their neighbors as predators damage them.
Plants do communicate, Karban said. A basic form of plant communication occurs when it is being shaded and it responds by moving away.
“Some definitions of communication require that both the sender and receiver benefit by engaging in the behavior,” the researchers wrote. “Sagebrush is a long-lived perennial, making estimates of the costs and benefits of communication difficult although plants that responded to volatile cues from damaged neighbors experienced greater survival at the seedling stage and greater production of new branches and inflorescences over 12 years.”
Karban said that the volatiles released by “experimentally damaged plants are highly variable among individuals.”
“In the future we plan to examine this chemical variability to determine which chemicals are active as signals and why they exhibit so much variability,” Karban said. “Ultimately, we would like to be able to understand the chemical nature of the volatile cues, how plants use them to communicate, and whether as agriculturalists, we can control host plant resistance to herbivores.”
The work was supported by grants from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Rick Karban's Lab Research
DAVIS--Professor Steve Nadler of the UC Davis Department of Entomology has been selected to receive the Henry Baldwin Ward Medal, presented by the American Society of Parasitologists (ASP) in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the field of parasitology.
Nadler will be honored at ASP's 88th annual meeting, set June 26–29 in Quebec City, Quebec. The award, established in 1959, is named for H.B. Ward, the society's first president and founder of the Journal of Parasitology.
Nadler studies the evolutionary biology and molecular phylogenetics of parasites, focusing mainly on nematodes. He joined the UC Davis faculty in 1996, serving as chair of the Department of Nematology from 2005-2011.
A past president of ASP (2007-08), Nadler has published more than 90 journal articles, and co-authored the textbook Foundations of Parasitology. His molecular systematic research is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, and his publications have yielded fundamental insights into host-parasite co-phylogeny and the evolutionary biology of parasites.
The UC Davis professor has served as an associate editor or editorial board member for several journals, including Parasitology, Journal of Parasitology, and Systematic Parasitology.
Nadler received his bachelor's degree in biology from Missouri State University, and his doctorate in medical parasitology from Louisiana State University Medical Center. He completed postdoctoral training at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. He was appointed assistant professor of biological sciences at Northern Illinois University in 1990.
Henry Baldwin Ward (1865-1945), a native of Troy, N.Y., is considered “The Father of American Parasitology.” A zoologist, parasitologist and administrator, he was the first dean of the University of Nebraska College of Medicine and later served as professor and head of the Department of Zoology at the University of Illinois until his retirement in 1933.
Founded in 1924, ASP is a diverse group of more than 800 scientists from industry, government, and academia who are interested in the study and teaching of parasitology. ASP members contribute not only to the development of parasitology as a discipline, but also to primary research in such fields as systematics, medicine, molecular biology, immunology, physiology, ecology, biochemistry and behavior.
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology
March 11, 2011
DAVIS- Integrated pest management specialist Frank Zalom, professor of entomology and former vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, is the 2011 recipient of the prestigious C. W. Woodworth Award from the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America (PBSA).
Zalom will receive the award on Monday, March 28 during the branch's 95th annual meeting, to be held in Waikoloa, Hawaii. Brian Holden of Monte Sereno, Calif., great-grandson of Woodworth and a 1981 graduate of UC Davis in electrical engineering, will present the plaque and a check for $1000.
As the recipient of the Woodworth Award, Zalom will present a 45-minute plenary address at the opening session of the meeting.
Pacific branch president Roger Vargas of the U.S. Pacific Basic Agricultural Research Center, Hilo, Hawaii, described the award as the “most prestigious” given by the branch. “It is presented in recognition of outstanding work in the scientific discipline of entomology,” Vargas said.
The award memorializes Woodworth (1865-1940), a trailblazing entomologist credited for (1) being the first entomology faculty member at the University of California--and thought to be the first academic in the western United States who was an entomologist and (2) founding the UC Berkeley and UC Davis departments of entomology.
Chemical ecologist Walter Leal, professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and the 2010 recipient of the Woodworth prize, nominated Zalom for the award. Leal described Zalom as “one of the world's most prolific and respected IPM researchers, but his influence in development of IPM policies and practices stretches globally.”
In addition to his professorial duties, Zalom is an extension agronomist, and an entomologist in the Agricultural Experiment Station.
Zalom focuses his research on California specialty crops, including tree crops (almonds, olives, prunes, peaches), small fruits (grapes, strawberries, caneberries), and fruiting vegetables (tomatoes), as well as international IPM programs.
In his three decades with the UC Davis Department of Entomology, Zalom has published almost 300 refereed papers and book chapters, and 340 technical and extension articles. The articles span a wide range of topics related to IPM, including introduction and management of newer, soft insecticides, development of economic thresholds and sampling methods, management of invasive species, biological control, insect population dynamics, pesticide runoff mitigation, and determination of host feeding and oviposition preferences of pests.
The Zalom lab has responded to six important pest invasions in the last decade, with research projects on glassy-winged sharpshooter, olive fruit fly, a new biotype of greenhouse whitefly, invasive saltcedar, light brown apple moth, and the spotted wing Drosophila.
Zalom serves as experiment station co-chair of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) National IPM Committee and is a member of APLU's Science and Technology Committee. He directed the UC Statewide IPM Program for 16 years (1988-2001).
Zalom is a fellow of the Entomological Society of America, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the California Academy of Sciences. The Entomological Foundation presented him with its “Award for Excellence in IPM” at the ESA's meeting last December in San Diego.
Zalom is the eighth scientist from the UC Davis Department of Entomology to receive the award. Other recipients: William Harry Lange, 1978; Harry Laidlaw Jr. 1981; Robert Washino, 1987; Thomas Leigh, 1991; Harry Kaya, 1999; Charles Summers, 2009; and Walter Leal, 2010.
The Pacific Branch of ESA encompasses 11 U.S. states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming); several U.S. territories, including American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands; and parts of Canada and Mexico.
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
It's not an “ordinary” bee suit. And what he does is not “ordinary.”
Norman Gary, a retired University of California, Davis entomology professor, wears his bees—thousands of them.
And that suits him just fine. To him, bees are not only a science (study of apiculture), but an adventure.
Gary, 76, who retired in 1994 from UC Davis after a 32-year academic career, will appear Thursday, Sept. 16 on a History Channel show wearing 75,000 bees. The show, part of Stan Lee's “Super Humans,” is scheduled to be broadcast at 10 p.m., Pacific Time (Channel 64 for local Comcast viewers).
Host-presenter Daniel Browning Smith has billed him as “the human bee hive” and will explore bee behavior and the science behind the bees.
A crew from England filmed Gary in mid-May at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, at Rick Schubert's Bee Happy Apiaries in Vacaville-Winters and then in a UC Davis open field where the 75,000 bees clustered his entire body.
“That's about 20 pounds, depending upon how much honey or sugar syrup they have consumed,” Gary said. “A hungry bee weighs approximately 90 mg and within a minute of active ingestion she can increase her weight to 150 mgs!”
Norman Gary knows bees. And he knows their behavior.
As a beekeeper, he's kept bees for 62 years and as a researcher, he's studied them for more than three decades. He's published more 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers and four book chapters.
But he is also a bee wrangler. He trains bees to perform action scenes in movies, television shows and commercials. His credits over the last 35 years include 18 films, including “Fried Green Tomatoes”; more than 70 television shows, including the Johnny Carson and Jay Leno shows; six commercials, and hundreds of live Thriller Bee Shows in the Western states.
Gary estimates he has performed the bee cluster stunt at least 500 times over the past 35 years. He remembers 54 performances at the California State Fair alone.
The History Channel episode may be his last professionally staged bee-cluster stunt, he said. However, he will continue to serve as a bee consultant to video producers and has just written a beginning beekeeping book, “The Honey Bee Hobbyist,” to be published in early December by Bow Tie Press.
“Bees are trainable, if you ask them to perform behaviors that are in their natural behavioral repertoire,” Gary said.
For the shoot, Gary borrowed New World Carniolan bees from Schubert, whose bee stock originated with bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey of the Laidlaw facility. “Bees are not inclined to sting if they are well fed—happy and content—and are ‘under the influence' of powerful synthetic queen bee odors—pheromones—which tend to pacify them,” Gary said.
Bees are attracted to pheromones and cluster on drops of pheromones he places on himself. While at UC Davis, he formulated a pheromone solution that is very effective in controlling bee behavior.
“Bees wrangled by this procedure have no inclination to sting,” he said. “Stinging behavior occurs naturally near the hive in defense of the entire colony not for the individual bee, because it dies within hours after stinging. Using this approach I have has as many as a million bees clustered on six people simultaneously “
Gary once trained bees to fly into his mouth to collect food from a small sponge saturated with his patented artificial nectar. He holds the Guinness World record (109 bees inside his closed mouth for 10 seconds) for the stunt.
“Most people fear bees,” Gary acknowledged. “They think bees ‘want' to sting them. Wrong! They sting only when the nest or colony is attacked or disturbed or when they are trapped in a physical situation where they are crushed.”
Sometimes, with the heavy weight of the bees on his body, he'll receive one or two stings per cluster stunt. Sometimes none.
Gary, who began hobby beekeeping at age 15 in Florida, went on to earn a doctorate in apiculture at Cornell University in 1959. During his career, he has worn many hats, including hobby beekeeper, commercial beekeeper, deputy apiary inspector in New York, honey bee research scientist and entomology professor, adult beekeeping education teacher, and author.
Known internationally for his bee research, Gary was the first to document reproductive behavior of honey bees on film and the first to discover queen bee sex attractant pheromones. He invented a magnetic retrieval capture/recapture system for studying the foraging activities of bees, documenting the distribution and flight range in the field. His other studies revolved around honey bee pollination of agricultural crops, stinging and defensive behavior, and the effects of pesticides on foraging activities, among dozens of others.
Today his life centers around music and bees. He has played music professionally for more than 50 years and for nine years has led a Dixieland band, appropriately known as the Beez Kneez Jazz Band, recording two CDs. He has performed more than 30 years in the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, the world's largest jazz festival.
His instruments include the “B-flat clarinet,” which he plays when he's covered with bees.
“I'm still very active in bees and music,” Gary said. “It's a good life.”